Thursday, December 13, 2007

Rock The Vote

It is important to know the stance policy makers have towards health care regarding HIV/AIDS all of the time, but with just less than one year to go before the next president of the United States is elected, it is now vital to get a firm handle where each candidate stands on the issue. Right now every political pulpit is filled with a candidate rifling off policy proposals and new policy ideas. However there are feelings that the next election could have the greatest impact on the fight to end HIV/AIDS yet.

Housing Works, Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC),<> and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, three of the nation’s leading HIV/AIDS organizations, have polled the 16 presidential hopefuls for 2008 in regards to HIV/AIDS policy and for the first time in one place have compiled a comprehensive report comparing the two parties – Democrat, Republican – on the subject.

"World AIDS Day is this Saturday, but you could also say that World AIDS Day is Election Day 2008. That's because our next President will have the opportunity and the responsibility to end AIDS," said Charles King, President and CEO of Housing Works. "She or he will have the tools to treat 33 million people living with HIV—including over a million Americans—around the planet, as well as the tools to stop the spread of the virus. We're here to build the political will to make that happen."

What is most important is to be aware of those candidates that fail to see the importance of ending the stigma surrounding HIV/AIDS as a means to ending it’s strangle hold on the world’s population.

The National Association of People With AIDS (NAPWA) in a December 10, 2007 press release highlighted some of Senator Mike Huckabee’s health policy regarding HIV/AIDS. “Twenty six years into this epidemic, such outrageous ideas as quarantine for all people with HIV/AIDS have no place in serious public policy debates of a free and enlightened society,” said Frank Oldham, Jr. NAPWA’s Executive Director. “This rhetoric only serves to heighten already severe stigma and discrimination against HIV-positive people and deter our collective efforts to engage the community in voluntary HIV testing, treatment, and other vital services.”

Kali Lindsey, NAPWA’s Director of Federal Government Affairs went on to day “Sentiments such as Huckabee’s that suggests isolation of persons with the HIV virus, further illustrate a clear disregard for the humanity of those communities who have experienced the greatest impact by this disease and the lack of a true investment in making a difference.”

Jeanne White-Ginder – the mother of the late Ryan White, an Indiana teenager who died of AIDS related causes in 1990 at age 18 – expressed her desire to meet with Huckabee to discuss his comments and agenda on HIV/AIDS.

I too would like to meet with any politician, especially one who is running for the office of president to discuss these matters. I’m sure we would agree on one thing: there is much more work to do in the fight against this disease.

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